Thursday, 12 November 2015

Where is your escape?

Where is your escape? Do you have somewhere either real or imagined that you can go when you need some Isabel-time?

This is a blog challenge I was set by a fellow Open University student quite a while ago. I've had a couple of attempts at answering this question, but gave up as I didn't really know what to say.

The real answer to this question is the bath. I love to pour myself a deep, bubble-filled bath and either, lie there with my eyes closed and just relax, or alternatively read. The bath seems to be the only place where I seem able to switch my mind off completely from my studies and other activities. But who wants to read a blog about someone having a bath?

Over the past couple of months life has been a bit stressful for me and my family. Both my sons had health issues, one concerning his heart and the other his lung. At the same time my hubby was going through a difficult time at work and was very stressed about it. I've reached a point in my life where I'm realising that worry is a waste of time and energy and doesn't actually change the outcome of anything, so I try not to do it. But when it comes to my children, as any parents reading this will know, that's easier said than done.

But it was during this period that I discovered that I do have a place, a real place, where I can go to escape, and it's on my doorstep.

Manor house from cafe courtyard
Those who've read some of my previous blogs will know that I'm a volunteer at Cogges Manor Farm in Witney. For those not familiar with this place, it's a heritage site consisting of a manor house and grounds. The house is stunning and is beautifully set off by the walled garden and lawns surrounding it. There's an orchard, with a variety of apple trees and fields where some sheep and a couple of Shetland ponies graze. Down in the woodland area you can still see the the double moated area that surrounded the original Cogges Castle that was built there in the eleventh century. It's now the site of a castle themed adventure playground and is often ringing to the sound of children of all ages, enjoying themselves. you can even build your own den.

Timmy, Louis and Jonathan, Cogges' goats
There are a variety of small animals, including pygmy goats, pigs, rabbits, guinea pigs plus a variety of chickens and ducks. Three rescued cats have made their home on the farm and one of my jobs is to pop in almost every day and feed them.

Most of my time is spent in the house on my own, either writing or studying and, as you may well imagine, that wasn't really very helpful during this worrying time. I've always known how special Cogges is to me. But over the past couple of months I've come to realise just how special it is. There is a peace and tranquillity about the place that is hard to describe. No matter how bad I'm feeling, a visit to Cogges always has the power to lift my spirits.

I feel very privileged to have this special place on my doorstep, it takes me less than five minutes to walk there. Even just writing about it makes me feel good.

Cogges farmyard.
Life has settled down for the moment and I've got one or two special occasions coming up that I'm sure I'll be writing about. But it's good to know that Cogges is there to weave its magic spell whenever I need it.

Where is your escape? Do you have somewhere either real or imagined that you can go when you need some you-time? 

Photos Isabel's own apart from the kitty one. I downloaded it from Facebook but can't remember the original post. 

Isabel Johnstone 2015 ©

No comments :

Post a Comment